Who Could Ever Bully The Rock? Dwayne Johnson Talks Serious Side of Central Intelligence

Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart from Central Intelligence
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart from Central Intelligence

Dwayne Johnson Talks the Anti-Bullying Message Behind Central Intelligence

It’s hard to imagine The Rock as a pebble. Dwayne Johnson‘s new buddy comedy-action movie “Central Intelligence” does just that, showing the beefy wrestler-turned-movie-star as a kid struggling to get by.

“He started off being overweight and bullied in high school,” Johnson tells Made in Hollywood reporter Julie Harkness Arnold of his character Bob Stone. “Twenty years later he’s become a very lethal CIA operative. But that side of his brain where he was 18 years old and bullied and thrown out naked in front of the entire school hasn’t continued to develop. So he’s still this lethal, amazing CIA operative, but he was also very young in the mind.”

This sets up what Johnson calls the serious message behind the shootouts and hijinks faced by Johnson and costar Kevin Hart.

“Give a lot of credit to our director, Rawson Thurber, who had this vision in mind, which is to have his great story, two guys who hopefully had good chemistry — we lucked out there, because we got it — but ground the movie in some good layers, things that are clever, and also have a nice undercurrent of anti-bullying and embracing who you are,” says Johnson.

Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart Play High School Classmates who Reconnect in Central Intelligence

That chemistry comes when Johnson’s character reconnects with his former high school classmate Calvin, played by Hart. “He loves this dude,” says Johnson. “There’s this real genuine hero worship, like he was the best thing that ever happened to me. I love that unique twist.”

The friendship comes at just the right time, says Hart.

“My character, Calvin, in high school was The Man,” the actor says. “He is the definition of what the most popular kid in school was. he fast forwards 20 years later in life and this guy is just not happy with himself because he feels that he underachieved. In his mind he should have done and he should have so much more. and he feels that he left the woman of his dreams down by not achieving what he feels his highest potential set him up to achieve.”

Also starring Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul and Danielle Nicolet, “Central Intelligence” opens June 17.